Strong leaders led the England National Football team to the Euro 2020 final and while it did not come home this time around, there is a great deal to take away from England’s football journey over the past few weeks.
England’s Euro 2020 run ended in heartbreak as we lost to Italy on penalties. However, there are still many positives that can be taken from England’s journey to the finals.
First of all, there is the England manager: Gareth Southgate. Since taking over as England manager in 2016, Southgate has demonstrated a fatherly heart towards his players and has often gone out of his way to protect the England players.
He never criticises his players openly and is always the first to take responsibility when things have gone wrong.
Southgate has also stood by his players in difficult situations, like when Harry Maguire was involved in an altercation in Greece last year. Southgate’s trust has been paid off greatly as Maguire was named as one of the standout players of Euro 2020 by UEFA.
More recently, Southgate has shown his fatherly qualities as he guides and advises his players on the dangers of social media. Southgate wrote in an open letter The Players’ Tribute: “There are times when my parental instincts kick in. I can’t help it. After all, I’m old enough to be a father to most of my players!
“I see players scrolling through their phones straight after the final whistle and I think … Hmmm, is that a particularly good idea?
“Reading abusive comments on Twitter or Instagram is never going to help performance.
“There are genuine risks for our players online and I will always want to protect them, but I would never put rules on how or when they use their accounts while on England duty.
“I trust them and know they are mature enough to make their own decisions, to do what’s right for their mental health and to keep being a force for good as we strive for a better society.”
In the same open letter, Southgate also wrote about how his own values and identify are closely linked with his family. He wrote: “For me, personally, my sense of identity and values is closely tied to my family and particularly my granddad. He was a fierce patriot and a proud military man, who served during World War II.
“The idea of representing ‘Queen and country’ has always been important to me. We do pageantry so well in Britain, and, growing up, things like the Queen’s silver jubilee and royal weddings had an impact on me.
“Because of my granddad, I’ve always had an affinity for the military and service in the name of your country — though the consequence of my failure in representing England will never be as high as his. My granddad’s values were instilled in me from a young age and I couldn’t help but think of him when I lined up to sing the national anthem before my first international caps.”
Alongside Gareth Southgate, the England Captain Harry Kane is another exceptional leader, both on and off the football pitch.
Kane is known for his professionalism and work-ethic; while primarily appreciated for his ability to score amazing goals, he defends when necessary and often provides assists for his teammates.
Kane’s ability was questioned during the group stage of the Euro 2020 tournament as he failed to score a goal in all three of the opening matches. However, he quickly bounced back to produce two Man of the Match performances against both Ukraine and Denmark which demonstrated his determination and drive.
Outside of football, Harry Kane is a family man who is never involved in the scandals commonly associated with modern footballers.
The final point to highlight is the unity within the current England squad. A togetherness is clear, that which was missing in the England squads of yesteryear.
It is evident that there are no egos in this England squad and that team rivalries are left at the door once national duty commences.
This unity is what propelled the team forward; substitutes played a vital role in giving the team an extra boost when needed and the players who were not playing any matches played an essential role in training and overall team moral.
England footballer Reece James recently tweeted: “Football is a team sport. No I in team.” in response to criticism that he was not playing any games.
It is these qualities of fatherly love, the ability to lead by example and coming together for a common goal that we aspire towards as a movement.
We want to thank Gareth Southgate and his England squad for embodying these qualities of leadership and unity, and for thoroughly entertaining us over these past few weeks. Bring on the World Cup!
Read about Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his passion for football here: https://familyfedcommunity.co.uk/the-beautiful-game-rev-sun-myung-moon-football/